Ikan Micro Spot Review: The best portable light money can buy

Yesterday while visiting Dodd camera in Chicago I was drawn to a small flashlight like led light that is made by Ikan. I picked one up and hit the streets to test it out. In the article I will share why I purchased this light as well as the pro’s and con’s that I found while using it to light my subject. 

   Note, all of the images in this article were lit with this light, the ikon mini spot
  Note, all of the images in this article were lit with this light, the ikon mini spot

Don’t you have enough lights?

That was a question that I asked myself when I was checking out the Ikan micro spot. If you are a gear head like me then you know that the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! That being said, I didn’t want to just throw money away I wanted to figure out how this light would move the needle. What part of my workflow would this improve? What gap does this light fill? How can this light help me to make better images? My goal in this post is to explain exactly those points. 

 Here is how we used the mini spot (on the right) as a key light throughout the shoot. 
Here is how we used the mini spot (on the right) as a key light throughout the shoot. 

How powerful is the mini spot?

Im not going to lie, this light is not the brightest light I have ever used, there is by far brighter lights on the market but none that are this easy to control and fit in the palm of my hand. That being said, this light is perfect for when the sun goes down or you are working inside somewhere. 

In order to use this as a key light you are going to want to have a pretty dark scene. All of the images in this post were photographed after the sun went down so I didn’t have to compete with any strong ambient light.  

This light will however be bright enough to light up a subjects face on a sunny day for things like interviews and videos where you can have the light in close.  

 Using the mini spot to create edgy looks while controlling the spread of the light with the barn doors. 
Using the mini spot to create edgy looks while controlling the spread of the light with the barn doors. 

Reasons to purchase this light:

1. Rechargeable Batteries

I hate having to have different batteries with me when I travel. The Ikan mini spot solves this problem by utilizing a USB Micro connector to recharge the battery. This is great for me because I am always traveling with several USB devices and USB batteries to keep all of my electronics charged and ready to go. Now I don’t need to worry about carrying a separate and specialized charger. In my experience, I shot with this light for 2 hours last night (on and off) and it did not show any signs of dimming or losing power.

According to the Ikan website, the expected life of this light is from 90 to 120 minutes. 

2. Barn Doors

I love a light that has manual control in order to shape the light. Barn doors allow you to easily control where you want the light to hit and it allows you to work super fast. 

3. Diffusion and CTO

This light has 2 barn doors that are not black, instead one of them is a CTO gel and the other provides some level of diffusion. This is great to be all in one but I think this light would benefit from a different gelling mechanism. The CTO gel barn door is great to match different color temperatures when working with difficult lighting circumstances. 

4. Dimming Control

This light has a dial on the side of the unit that allows you to raise and lower the power with ease. There were several times last night that I needed to intensify the power and after a few minutes of using the light I was able to accomplish power control with ease. 

5. Mounting Options

 View of the cold shoe as well as 1/4 20
View of the cold shoe as well as 1/4 20

One of the things I don’t like about other LED lights on the market is their inability to mount anywhere and everywhere. With small lights, I look to them to be my Swiss army knife and be able to light any situation I encounter. This light has both 1/4 20 mount as well as a cold shoe base that can slide in on top of your camera. This is great for still photographers and videographers alike as you can mount it on top of your camera on attach it to a cold shoe on your cage. 

How will I use this light? 

This is a light that I will always travel with, it will never leave my bag and it will be ready to use at a moments notice. Whether using this light for portraits in the street or details at a wedding, its compact size makes it a no brainer to keep in your bag. 

What could improve?

  1. I would love to see the ability to add colored gels
  2. I would love to see a more powerful version of the light (isn’t this what we always wish 🙂 ) 
  3. A way to see the battery charge
  4. The ability to add solid doors instead of translucent

What is the cost?

This light has an MSRP of $52.95 and can be purchased on Amazon or your local camera store!  

https://amzn.to/2Eblgem

 

 

Specs: 

Beam Angle: 30 Degree Beam Angle at 3ft

Build Material: Heavy Duty Plastic

Control: Dimming Knob

Cooling System: Passive

Fixture Size: 5 x 2 x 2 in.

Fixture Weight: 4.5 oz

Focusing: N/A

Head Type: Daylight 5600K

Lens: 30 Degree Lens

Light Source: 1 – 4 watt LED

Mount: Camera Mount

Power Supply: 5v @ 1A USB mini

Rating: 5v @ 1A

Shipping Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 5 in.

Shipping Dimensions (Metric): 12.7 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm

Shipping Weight: 1 lb

Shipping Weight (Metric): 0.45 kg

UPC Code: 847983013135